What are the new veterinary medicine regulations for?

The new EU-wide Veterinary Medicinal Products and Medicated Feed Regulations come into force on 28 January 2022.

The regulations set out new rules for the sale, manufacture, import, export, supply, distribution, advertising, control and use of veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed.

Will there be a time limit on prescriptions?

The requirements on prescribing and time limit for valid prescriptions for antimicrobials, including antibiotics, and medicated feed, take effect on 28 January 2022.

The implementation date of the prescription requirement for antiparasitics, such as wormers or fluke doses, is now 1 June 2022. A prescription will not be required for such products until that date.

How long will a prescription for antimicrobials be valid?

A prescription for antimicrobials is valid for five days from date of issue and must be filled within this time frame. You can treat the animals for as long as is specified by the vet on the prescription.

How long will existing prescriptions for specific antimicrobials be valid?

Any existing prescriptions that you have for specific antimicrobials like intramammary tubes for cows will no longer be valid from 2 February 2022.

You will need to contact your veterinary practitioner to get a new prescription.

How long will a prescription for all other veterinary medicines be valid?

A prescription for all other veterinary medicines that are not antimicrobials can be valid for a maximum of 12 months.

What are the new changes on antimicrobials?

After January 2022, antimicrobials are only allowed for preventative treatment in “exceptional cases” for administration to an individual animal or restricted number of animals, when the risk of infection is very high and consequences are likely to be severe. In the event of an antibiotic being used in “exceptional” cases for preventative treatment, it will all be limited in quantity and duration to the treatment to cover the risk of an individual animal. After January 2022, a prescription for antimicrobials for metaphylaxis (to control a diagnosed infection) may only to be issued after diagnosis of infection, when the risk of spread of an infection is high and when no other appropriate alternatives are available.

Can I keep veterinary medicines on my farm?

There can be a small quantity of medicines on a farm that are essential to protect animal health and welfare.

Prescription-only medicines can only be present if a vet deems them necessary.

In the case of prescription-only antimicrobial medicine, a vet can only prescribe a small quantity of antimicrobials to be kept on farm where there may be an essential need for the administration to an individual animal or restricted number of animals when the risk for infection, or an infectious disease is very high or its consequences are likely to be severe.

The Department of Agriculture advises that if you have any questions, you should contact your vet.